Being Grateful

Today, being Thanksgiving, it is a time to reflect on the year or even our lives and give thanks for what we have.  Too many of us are unaware of how truly blessed we are.  We trivialize the fact that we are healthy, that we have a job, that we have a home.  And yet there are so many without one or even all three of those things.  We run around like crazy people shopping on Thanksgiving at those shops who opened early and wake up at 2am to stand in line to get some deal on a gift at a store on Black Friday.  My gosh the last time I even had enough money saved away to spend on Black Friday was 2012.  But thanks to Black Friday Thanksgiving isn’t what it used to be.  I think REI has the right idea we need to opt out.

Instead of shopping we need to spend time with our family and friends.  We need to tell them how much we appreciate and love them. We need to make lists of what we are grateful for, because believe me, we’ve got it good.  We’re not sleeping on the streets.  We’re not addicted to drugs and whacked out of our minds (at least I hope you’re not).  Someone always has it worse than you.  So take a good look around you.  I bet you have a lot more than you thought to be thankful for.

I’m so grateful that I’ve got two handsome, smart, caring sons, who are growing up to be men that I’m so proud of.  I’m grateful that I’ve got an apartment, and a job, and a car that will get me there.  I’m grateful that I’m 5 years cancer free.  I’m grateful that I’m finally taking the classes I need to so I can start my own copywriting business.  And I’m grateful that I’ve got a 2 year plan that will get by business up and rolling and me out of the country traveling.  So what are you grateful for?

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Making A Committment to Yourself

It’s funny but to a lot of people committment is a four letter word.  Not literally, of course, but figuratively speaking.  There is so much standing behind that word.  You are saying that you are promising to do something faithfully with total dedication.  And for someone to commit to something, whether it be a person or a project, takes a lot of strength of character, because committing to something isn’t always an easy thing to do.

How many times have we committed to doing something and failed?  People make commitments of marriage then end up divorced.  People make commitments/resolutions at New Years to lose weight and join gyms only to wind up paying for memberships all year to a gym they went to maybe 5 times.

In order for your committment to stick, you need to break it down into doable goals or sections.  It’s just like anything that you are trying to make a habit of doing.  It’s not a habit until you’ve done it 30 days in a row.  Then by some sort of magical happenstance you continue to do it.  Take it one step and one day at a time.

So what is it that you want to commit to?  I want to commit to writing every day.  If someone asks me if I’m a writer, what do I say?  I am a writer because I have written; I have 8 books on Amazon Kindle. But should I say I was a writer, because I’m not currently writing?  But then if I make that committment and write every day I am a writer.  Well, I think I’ll spell it out a little better.  I have 3 blogs on top of the fiction that I write.  So I commit to writing daily and keeping up with all my blogs on a continual basis, which I haven’t necessarily been doing lately.

Commitment in itself is a Leap of Faith that you believe in yourself and are willing to put it out there for the world to see.

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Looking Back At What I’ve Done

Sometimes to see where you’re going, you have to look back and see where you’ve been.  I was working and getting jobs freelancing on Elance.  I was bidding on lots of jobs and getting maybe 1 out of every 6 I bid on, then I got a couple of regulars who gave me steady work, so I had jobs from them I knew I could count on.  But it really wasn’t what I wanted to do.  Well, what did I want to do?  Ultimately I wanted to be able to have a job where I could travel and still do it.  I wanted to be a copywriter.  I also wanted to possibly learn to teach English abroad.  Okay, so Elance isn’t going to get me the kinds of jobs I’m looking for if I want to be a copywriter.  I may need some training.  And I will definitely need training to teach English.  So I got online and found some classes that I could take and started taking them.  Why waste time thinking about doing something?  While I take the classes I’ve been working and still taking a few writing gigs on Elance for an extra buck.  Mainly from my regulars, because I don’t have a lot of extra time.  Eventually I’ll have to start doing some planning, like getting a website or two up.  If I’m going to be a copywriter that will be one site and teaching English another.  If I’m going to be in another country I’ll need a passport.  I’ll have to plan a lot then, but that’s down the road.  Right now I see where I’m heading.  I’m taking classes to get the background I need to be able to do what I want to do.  Then I’ll go from there.  But I had to look at where I was, see what I really wanted, and then find the way there.  It’s not hard, but most of the time we don’t stop and ask ourselves what we really want.  And even if we do, we don’t then push on and follow through and take the steps to get what we really want because we feel safe and snug in our lives and don’t want to rock the boat.  But if the boat doesn’t get rocked, your stuck with the same boring life for the rest of your life.  And I’m sorry, but that is just not for me.  I’d go crazy.  I guess I’m just a natural born boat rocker.  I’ve always been antsy, I have to get out there and explore.  I’ve got the travel bug and haven’t really been anywhere.  But I can promise you this, once I get going, I’m going all over, anywhere and everywhere.  I can’t wait to see where that Leap of Faith will take me.

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We Create Our Reality

We create our reality.  Where we are right now in our lives is an amalgamation of our thoughts our choices.  It starts with thoughts, and then we make choices or don’t make choices, we take roads or veer down other paths.  But those choices and those roads have lead us directly to where we are today.  So the question is are you where you want to be?  Are you doing the things that you want to do, the things that make you happy?  If so, great! Celebrate that.  But if not, why aren’t you?  Are you too scared, too worried, too afraid of going down that path and not knowing what will happen?  The thing is you’ll never know unless you try.  You’ll just be stuck in this stagnant life that you don’t want, feeling that is somehow better than taking that leap and going for your dreams.  You don’t have to blow your life apart to get what you want.  You can take it one small step at a time if that’s what it takes.  But take those small steps.  Be willing to make the choice to follow your dreams, even if they are outrageously huge, by breaking them down into little bite size pieces so that you can go slowly if you need to.  But if you look back on your life, you can see the choices you made, the things you didn’t do, the roads you didn’t travel, and you can see why you are where you are right now.  So if you truly want to be somewhere else, take the fork in the road, take even a small Leap of Faith, and head towards your dreams.

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Learning from Treehouses

Ever since I remember I wanted to live in a treehouse.  I guess it all started with Swiss Family Robinson.  Who didn’t see that show and long for a house with multiple rooms up in the trees with swinging bridges attaching them.  It was every kids fantasy.  Then you grow up and realize you’ll have to scale that down a bit, to maybe a single room fort.  Then the next thing you know you’re dreaming about building a treehouse for your little one, because you just never got around to it when you were a kid.  But there are lessons to be learned from building treehouses, that most people don’t ever think about or see.

Treehouses in this day and age can be anything you want them to be.  They can be as simple as a fort or as complex as a 2 bedroom 1 bath suite.  So the first lesson, is let your imagination take hold and let the “Swiss Family Robinson” in you out.  As long as you can dream it, an architect can probably design it, so dare to dream about everything you want in a treehouse.  Do you want a porch that surrounds the entire thing that is big enough to hold chairs for you to sit and watch the sunset at night with potted plants hanging down around you?  If so, go for it.  Do you want a 1/2 bath inside with a composting toilet and a covered outdoor shower, that too is possible.  Lesson #1 Let Yourself Dream.

All of what you dream depends on the second lesson, you have to choose the right site.  Choosing the site to build your treehouse is of utmost importance.  It, for obvious reasons, needs to adhere to city and state regulations, but also needs to be atmospheric.  Have the picture window facing the west to see the setting sun, or have a room with a south view and lots of natural light if you are wanting an artist retreat.  You also have to make sure you have the right kind of trees for the construction of your treehouse.  Lesson #2 Be In the Right Place at the Right Time.

Next if you are going big, you need to know that you will need multiple trees.  And you need to build in such a way that allows the trees to bend and sway in the wind carrying your treehouse with it instead of smashing it to smithereens.  Spreading the weight over multiple trees makes the treehouse like a sail in the wind.  It is also important to leave gaps around the branches for the growth and movement of the tree.  Lesson #3 Be Flexible.

The floor, however, needs to be level.  So no matter how many trees you use, unless you are making multiple rooms with bridges in between, the floor itself needs to be level.  Lesson #4 Have a Solid Foundation.

And last but not least, not everything needs to be built in the air.  Build portions of your treehouse down on the ground and then hoist it up and get it in place piece by piece. Lesson #5 Take the Time To Do It Right and Don’t Be In a Rush

So that’s my treehouse wisdom.  Hopefully one day I will have a treehouse of my own.

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Real Metamorphosis

I was reading this book called Twelve By Twelve; A One Room Cabin Off the Grid and Beyond the American Dream, by William Powers, and was reading about what really goes on to a caterpillar and I’d like to show that here…

“Really, we’ve got the story wrong.  We imagine the caterpillar, knowing that it is time, goes to sleep in its womblike cocoon and wake up a smiley, happy butterfly.  That’s not what happens.  As biologist Elisabet Sahtouris explains, the caterpillar devotes its life to hyper-consumption, greedily eating up nature’s bounty.  Then it attaches itself to a twig, like the one on the deer fence, and encases itself in chrysalis.  Once inside, crisis strikes; its body partially liquifies into broth.

Yet perhaps guided by an inner wisdom, what Sahtouris call “organizer cells” go around rounding up their fellow cells to form “imaginal buds.”  These multicellular buds begin to bloom into an entirely new organism but not without resistance.  The caterpillar’s immune system still functions and thinks that the imaginal buds are a virus and attacks them.

But the imaginal buds resist – and ultimately prevail – because they link together, cooperatively, to become a beautiful butterfly, which lives lightly, regenerates life through pollinating flowers, and migrates over vast distances, exploring life in ways that would have been incomprehensible to the caterpillar.”

Metamorphosis isn’t easy, I don’t think it was ever meant to be.  Becoming who you were meant to be, changing yourself, making the tough decisions, none of that is easy.  But it is worth it.  In the end metamorphosis is worth it for the caterpillar and it is worth it for you.  Make the changes necessary to be who you were meant to be.  Follow your passions.  Take your Leap of Faith.


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Taking Some Me Time

Has anyone ever told you it’s okay to take some “me” time?  Maybe they have and maybe they haven’t.  With the holidays, which is always hectic for me with extended family and kids going to 3 sets of grandparents it can be hard to get the times right.  Plus there is work to fit it and when you are a server at a restaurant you don’t get time off for good behavior you get to work your ass off with no time off because it’s the holidays.  And just when the holidays are over and the slow down begins I got a promotion.  They asked me to train to be a supervisor, which is good it meant more money (sometimes), and lots more responsibility.  So I feel like I haven’t slowed down at all.  Now I’m working as a supervisor and as a server and I’m lucky to have a whole day off during the week to spend with the one kid that still lives at home, because most of the time if I do have time off he usually has to work at his job so we are like two ships passing in the night, more like roomies now then mother and son.  It’s hard to find time for me let alone time to do stuff with him since all he wants to do is play Xbox online.  But when I do get those precious days every once in a blue moon to myself I end up doing errands and cleaning the house and all the stuff that doesn’t get done because I’m working so much.  Today I have a day off.  And yes I have to go to the store because the cupboard is bare, but today I’m taking some me time for once.  I’m pampering myself with a long soothing bubble bath, giving myself a mani/pedi, and catching up on my favorite tv shows.  I deserve it.  Everyone needs “me” time; time to recharge the batteries and do something special for themselves.  Don’t forget that.  Too bad my son isn’t off, I’d take him to a movie.

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